Australian singer/songwriter Peter D. Harper goes by his last name, while Motor City Josh chooses to go by his first.

Together, they're a force to be reckoned with. They've just released a CD, "Bare Bones," and are touring in support of it. They'll play Bay Street Blues on Dec. 17.

"I started coming over to the U.S. in 1996," Harper says. "I used to fly over to do tours in the summer here and go back and do tours in the summer in Australia.

"For 10 years, I never saw one winter, which was awesome. Then I got a deal with Blind Pig Records and they didn't want me to go back to Australia.

"I moved to the beautiful state of Michigan and bought a house there," he says. "I put a band together and started doing heavy touring here."

Music is an important part of Harper's background.

"My grandfather was a bar singer," he says. "He'd have a few beers in him and get up and sing the blues. He just loved it.

"My father was a concert pianist," Harper says. "He was pretty popular and tried to teach me piano. I got a little bit of it."

But later Harper discovered brass.

"I used to play the euphonium, trombone and trumpet," he says. "At school, I learned to read music.

"We moved to Australia from England when I was 11 and I started playing in bands. When I got to about 15 or 16, I started doing gigs.

"The drinking age is a lot lower in Australia, so you can play in clubs much earlier," Harper says. "I loved playing the harmonica with different blues bands and was really digging it, because at the end, I got paid for something I loved."

At one point, Harper began writing original music.

"One day, an aborigine wanted to jam," he says. "He played a didgeridoo and I played harmonica."

The collaboration was successful, but didn't last long.

"Aborigines go walkabout and disappear for six months," Harper says.

"I was stuck with nobody. My manager said, 'You've got to learn to play the didgeridoo.'

"Some aborigines taught me how to play," Harper says. "It took six months."

Although Harper still plays the didgeridoo with his own band, it's not part of his work with Josh.

"We'll be playing harmonica, guitar and singing," Harper says.

A songwriter as well as a performer, Harper takes inspiration from many things.

"I've got songs I started 10 years ago and are only just now coming out," he says. "There are others I write in 10 minutes. There are lots of different areas I can work with."

For Josh, Bay Street Blues is a familiar spot.

"I've been going to Bay Street Blues two to three times a year on average," he says. "For a while, no other bands were playing but me."

It's quite a journey down to Savannah.

"I live north of Detroit," Josh says. "Detroit got too rough for me."

Josh discovered music from his father's huge record collection.

"He had a little bit of everything and turned me on to all kinds of music," Josh says.

"When I was 12 years old, we lived in Florida for a little bit. There was a place, the Musicians' Exchange in Fort Lauderdale, which was a club above a music store.

"They had live shows," he says. "We went and saw reggae, rock 'n' roll and mostly blues. I saw John Hooker, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, and it might have been $10 or less to get in."

It was the Buddy Guy/Junior Wells show that changed Josh's life.

"When I watched Buddy follow a woman into the restroom, I looked at my dad and said, 'That's what I want to do,'" he says.

"My father was a musician who played on the side, always on weekends," Josh says. "Prior to that, my parents were ministers and taught me how to play drums at 8."

After his parents were divorced when Josh was 12, he began hanging out at blues clubs with his father.

"That's when I switched to guitar," he says. "Then I became a sponge."

Because Josh had a guitar class, he was allowed to take his guitar to school.

"Nobody had to make me practice," he says. "I would play guitar between classes until the teachers would tell me to stop. It's what I did constantly until I passed out at night.

"I put records on and played along," Josh says. "I quit worrying about what I was going to do with my life at that point."

Since then, Josh has been a full-time musician.

"There's never really been a big break, but a lot of events that led to this point," he says.

"The big break is when they pay the big bucks. For me, it's making enough to put gas in the car and pay the bills.

"I've been forced to do it on my own," Josh says. "I write songs, record them and go out and sell CDs out of my truck. Since the Internet came out, that's been great."

When writing songs, inspiration comes from many places, Josh says.

"Sometimes I'll be talking to someone and it will trigger something in my brain," he says.

"A lot of times, it will be a cool older person I admire and respect. I store that away. Sometimes I'll write something straightaway, but other times, I'll be working on it years later."

Josh enjoys performing.

"For the last 23 years, performing has been my bread and butter," he says. "I still like it.

"I've done it so long, I'm not as hungry as I used to be. I'm starting to enjoy the recording aspect of it.

"And I have a family at home," Josh says. "I'm leaning to staying closer to home and coming out once a year."

The collaboration with Harper has been fulfilling, Josh says.

"We met in Flint, Mich., which is an hour north of Detroit, when a mutual friend asked us to do a benefit for a homeless shelter," he says.

"We both agreed to do it right away, but we didn't discuss it with our bands. We were both busy and it kind of snuck up on us, so we decided to do an acoustic show, just the two of us, and it was fun and we had a good time.

"Everyone seemed to enjoy it," Josh says. "We decided to go into the studio and make a recording. Once we had the recording, it was natural to go on the road."

Both are looking forward to playing Bay Street Blues.

"We're going to have a party, that's for sure," Harper says.

"Josh is a very powerful guitar player. We've been having a lot of fun on the road. Josh and I can just get up there and say, 'Let's go!' and people get into it.

"It's good, old porch-singing blues style that has that vibe about it," Harper says. "They're going to dig it."